Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
New Luxury House in Jersey, The Channel Islands by Hudson Architects
June 3rd, 2015 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Hudson Architects
This contemporary new luxury home by Hudson Architects overlooks St Ouen’s Bay on Jersey. The house is not only an exceptional response to the needs of the clients, but also the considerable demands of the site.
The house replaces a drab bungalow on the clifftop site – a scenic area protected by very strict planning conditions. From the outset, Hudson Architects were determined to replace the existing house with a superior contemporary scheme that would fully do justice to its setting.
The site sits on a plateau with extensive views out to sea. Despite its elevated position, there are few long distance views of the site, which is approached by a typical high bounded Jersey lane. In determining the form of the house, Hudson Architects intended that it should not dominate its surroundings but sit comfortably within them. By excavating a lower ground level, the profile of the 470 sq.m house remains relatively discrete, and initially presents a modest profile for visitors arriving at the end of the track. The low pitch roofs of the house also form a gentle yet contemporary profile against the horizon. It is only when one moves around the site that the real drama of the building is revealed.
On arrival, the house appears as a single tall storey tapering towards the west with the slope of the roof. The entrance elevation contains a colonnade providing shelter and a walkway to the front door, and is punctuated by a distinctive semicircular stone hallway that bulges from the house. This is reminiscent of the Martello towers found around the Jersey coast – fortifications built during the Napoleonic Wars to protect the island from invasion – and draws the eye to the front door, giving a sense of arrival and protection.
Moving around the building, the garden front facing the sea is a more relaxed architectural composition, with timber cladding providing a softer presence where it cuts into the white rendered elevation. The main body of the house and a visually lighter pavilion enclosing the main living areas frames a semi-enclosed south-facing courtyard. The courtyard connects the inside and outside spaces while, rising above it at the eastern end of the house, a “crows nest” cantilevers outwards. This, and the double-height living spaces under the roof, enjoys fantastic views from large picture windows and a series of balconies and terraces. The different treatments of each elevation are united by two low-pitched roofs that slope gently towards each other in the centre of the house, creating a playful range of angles and offering a varied series of silhouettes against the skyline.
The arrangement of the house, which is orientated toward the southwest, makes the most of the site and its sea views. By digging into the landscape, we have been able to create an interesting sequence of half levels with bedrooms at the lower garden level, an entrance at forecourt level, a main living area at a half level above, and the main bedroom a further half level above this.
The internal spaces accommodate contemporary family life with a mixture of open and more intimate spaces. The sequence of different levels and mixture of volumes provides a lively and interesting internal composition. The main living space juxtaposes traditional and modern materials: exposed granite walls, oak ceiling beams and tall oak columns contrast with a more contemporary palette of steel and glass used for the crow’s nest staircase. A series of smaller spaces that are full of character: cool and relaxing bedrooms, the stone hallway with its tall, narrow windows suggesting strength and seclusion; and the spectacular main bathroom with its irregular series of small windows set into a tall wall beneath a stepped ceiling.
The interiors of the house offer a varied and flexible series of spaces. The main open plan living area is a light-filled space where the owners can come together with their family and friends for entertaining and relaxation. This part of the house gives exceptional views out to sea from the large picture windows overlooking the garden, as well as a series of interesting viewpoints across the space itself – punctuated with its different materials and levels. An office inside the crow’s nest, reached by a featured steel and glass staircase, is an exceptional study – again with stunning views to see from the desk or its own balcony. A series of generously proportioned bedrooms for family and guests arranged on the lower level, each with their own bathroom and access to the gardens. One end of the house contains the master bedroom and bathroom, alongside a snug living room and library. This is the owners’ retreat – somewhere where they can shut themselves away from the rest of the house and enjoy more intimate surroundings.
A wide range of high specification fixtures and fittings are used throughout the house, which is also a showcase of exceptional craftsmanship with its rich palette of masonry, carpentry and bespoke furniture.
Hudson Architects have used modern construction methods to create a high quality and energy efficient building, such as the use of Insulated Concrete Framework to provide structural strength and a high level of thermal performance. The predominant external material is white render, in keeping with traditional use elsewhere on Jersey. Here the render is silicone on an insulation base to give a robust and weather resistant finish – appropriate for the building’s exposed marine location. A large proportion of the pink Jersey granite cladding came from the excavation of the site or was sourced locally from reclaimed material – referencing the Jersey landscape and traditional building methods. The roofs are formed using a composite insulated metal panel system entirely concealed with large format slate slabs forming a rain screen above. External landscaping repeats the use of slate and granite to fix the house firmly within its surroundings
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